The Power Platform

What is Low-Code / No-Code and why is it transforming our business?

A low-code/no-code development platform is a visual software development environment that allows business users- sometimes called Citizen Developers- to develop applications, using drag and drop application components, connect them together and create a mobile or web application.

This puts the power into the hands of the business and allows for rapid development of applications, automation of processes and the facilitation of business intelligence for the actionable, relevant data insights that organisations today are craving.
 It is therefore critical that IT gets ahead of this curve and offers this as a curated service to the business to prevent Shadow IT. IT can be a real accelerator and enabler of this change. 

Trends driving Low Code / No Code Development- by the numbers

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Application development that will be delivered on Low Code/No -Code platforms by 2023 - Gartner

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IT Dev budgets required to support legacy apps- IDC

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Ratio by which demand for mobile apps will outstrip developer capacity - Gartner

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Workforce which is now mobile and working remotely due to COVID19

Business Trends Driving Low-Code/No-Code Adoption

The primary drivers of this change are: 

 •A growing need to modernise legacy implementations; ERP, CRM, Web apps etc.

•Little appetite amongst business and IT leaders for large scale replacement programs due to; COVID, cost and project risk. 

•Outdated and manual processes- the need for speed and agility to support new business models and respond to changing market conditions 

•IT cant meet the demand for an integrated mobile and web experience to support a mobile and remote workforce 

•Siloed Data- the need quickly to consolidate, analyse and act on data from disparate sources

 •The emergence of platforms offering out of the box capability to rapidly develop and deploy applications at scale   

Microsoft Power Platform and Common Data Service(now called Dataflex Pro).

The Microsoft Power Platform is a market leading Low-Code/No-Code platform that includes 5 solutions; 

PowerApps

Power Automate

Power BI

Power Virtual Agent and

PowerApps Portals. 

Power BI is a business intelligence (BI) application used to connect and display data through real-time dashboards. This application can collect data from on-premises or cloud data sources; these data sources can be from Microsoft-based or third-party applications. There are currently over 300 supported data sources.

PowerApps is an application that allows users to create low-code applications for desktop and mobile platforms that run off data. PowerApps allows users to connect easily to Power BI and Automate, as well as connect to other applications such as Dynamics and Office 365. PowerApps also comes with Common Data Service (CDS) -- which allows users to securely store and control data used in business applications. 

Power Automate is a process automation application which allows users to create automated workflows between Microsoft applications and other services. The application is designed to be used by non-technical users and to automate business processes as well as workflows. 

 

Organisations can use Automate to create their own automations or use templates for any common automations. Users can also set triggers, alerts, emails and push notifications with Automate as well. The workflow automation is made with insights that can be gained by Power BI. The workflows can be run from the cloud and managed by Microsoft. 

 

Power BI, PowerApps and Power Automate all work together to achieve Microsoft's goal: to create a platform that can gain insights from data and use that data to drive and automate business processes.

Power Virtual Agents Power Virtual Agents empowers teams to easily create powerful bots using a guided, no-code graphical interface without the need for data scientists or developers. Power Virtual Agents addresses many of the major issues with bot building in the industry today. It eliminates the gap between the subject matter experts and the development teams building the bots, and the long latency between teams recognising an issue and updating the bot to address it. It removes the complexity of exposing teams to the nuances of conversational AI and the need to write complex code. And, it minimises the IT effort required to deploy and maintain a custom conversational solution.

Power Apps Portals allow organisations to engage with external customers and partners by quickly creating low code/no code portals that give internal and external users secure access to your data either anonymously or through commercial authentication providers like LinkedIn, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google, or enterprise providers such as Azure AD B2C and Okta.  The beauty of the service is that you can integrate all your data and bring data from the apps you use—including Power BI and Power Automate—together with the Common Data Service and enable your users to interact with it anytime, anywhere . You can enrich portals with model-driven forms, views, lists, charts, and dashboards to offer more value with each interaction.

Common Data Service(Dataflex Pro)- Microsoft Power Platform works with the Common Data Service, which is a cloud tool on Azure that acts as an underlying data platform. The CDS also provides a data schema that an application can operate with. The Power Platform also works using what Microsoft calls a "triple-A loop." This term refers to the loop data takes in the platform: gaining insights from data, using that data to drive business processes and the process that data can automate.